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Bread and butter (superstition)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Bread and butter" is a superstitious blessing or charm, typically said by young couples or friends walking together when they are forced to separate by an obstacle, such as a pole or another person. By saying the phrase, the bad luck of letting something come between them is thought to be averted.[1] Both walkers must say the phrase,[2] and if they do not do this, then a bitter quarrel is expected to occur.[3] The concept derives from the difficulty of separating butter from bread once it has been spread – buttered bread cannot be "unbuttered".[2][4] Another phrase used in this way is "salt and pepper".[5]


  1. ^ Martha Warren Beckwith (Jan–Mar 1923), "Signs and Superstitions Collected from American College Girls", The Journal of American Folklore, 36 (139): 1–15, doi:10.2307/535105, JSTOR 535105
  2. ^ a b Richard Webster, The Encyclopedia of Superstitions
  3. ^ Louisiana folklore miscellany, vol. 5
  4. ^ Harry Collis, 101 American superstitions
  5. ^ Phillip W. Steele, Ozark tales and superstitions